Entrust Equipping Leaders
How can men benefit from the training module "Facilitating Relational Learning?"
April 28, 2023
Guest Jason Pettys, who took the module in 2020, says everyone, yes everyone, should get in on this. Find out why.
Guest Jason Pettys describes FRL and the value he found in this Entrust training module.

Helpful links

Facilitating Relational Learning https://www.entrust4.org/core-modules

Entrust https://www.entrust4.org/

Speaker Name  | Start Time  | Text
Todd (intro/outro)  | 00;00;10;07  | Welcome to Entrust Equipping Leaders, the podcast for Christian leaders, people who equip Christian leaders and people who desire to grow in their Christian leadership skills. Today, our host Laurie Lind chats with Jason Pettys about Entrust's’flagship training module, Facilitating Relational Learning. Women around the world are gaining small group leadership skills from this module. What about men? Let's hear what Jason has to say.
Laurie Lind  | 00;00;41;27  | I'm really glad to welcome my friend Jason Pettys to Entrust Equipping Leaders today to talk about some things about Entrust and some of the things that Entrust has to offer people. Before we get into all that, though, Jason, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, about your family, your involvement in church over the years?
Jason Pettys  | 00;01;04;07  | Sure, yeah. So I came to the Lord as a freshman in college and got into a really good discipline group that helped me to to grow pretty fast and follow the Lord pretty well and get kind of ingrained in my culture. That part of following the Lord was being, you know, pretty heavily involved in a local church of some sort.
Jason Pettys  | 00;01;27;22  | And so now I've got married since then and had eight kids since then, and the youngest is 12 now. So we've seen them grow up a little bit and been involved in a couple of different churches and in a pretty interested in small group leadership. And also just Bible teaching in general is kind of where my gift things have taken me in terms of being involved in church, things going on.
Laurie Lind  | 00;01;53;00  | And you did mention you've had eight kids. Yeah, that ten right there. You've got a little flock.
Jason Pettys  | 00;02;00;25  | My goodness. Yeah, that's for sure.
Laurie Lind  | 00;02;04;04  | Yeah. I bet that feels like discipleship at times. Or like it's. It's your own small group, so to speak.
Jason Pettys  | 00;02;11;03  | Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, it's you kind of have to definitely build it into the rhythms of life. I mean, I remember thinking about the, you know, the Old Testament believers were supposed to put the law, you know, talk about it at specific times in the day and hold it a different spots. And I kind of interpreted that more loosely as just try to build it into the rhythms of life.
Jason Pettys  | 00;02;32;13  | So we try to read the Bible a lot of times after mealtimes or whatever, when the kids are growing up and and my wife is also it was pretty big into Bible memory and getting those Bible versus those little kids when their minds are like sponges. So. Yeah.
Laurie Lind  | 00;02;47;04  | Mm hmm. And I can really see you and your wife. We've been in a small group together in your knowledge of scripture, both of you two is it's extensive and it's. It's enjoyable to really talk about the Bible and the Lord with you both. So prior to the year 2021, there's a reason for this question, but up until the year 2020, what experiences have you had in small group Bible studies?
Jason Pettys  | 00;03;15;21  | Trying to think back. There's so many different kinds of experiences from being in college, small groups, and that's a whole different dynamic and different college. Small groups have a completely different dynamic. And I was in, you know, quite a few of those. Then you get into young adult or married, you know, married couples was Bible studies and those would have another dynamic.
Jason Pettys  | 00;03;35;00  | And I would say, you know, before right before 2020, we were had been leading a small group for a number of years. And we have those more group discussions. I would think I'm I kind of maybe lead into some of that. What I, you know, some of the weaknesses of leading those groups that really when I heard about what the F r l program was about, it was really appealing to me because, you know, you have those there's so many group dynamics going on.
Jason Pettys  | 00;04;01;10  | And how do you we got into a group where everybody was an introvert except my wife. And it was amazing when you you get a whole bunch of people around and and you ask a question. It's just crickets for a long time, you know, and then and trying to ask the questions, then learn how to ask the questions that will get the conversation going.
Jason Pettys  | 00;04;21;25  | Because, you know, these introverts, their minds are going really well. And there's a lot of really good stuff that they've got to share, but you got to get them out and that's that can be a real challenge to get that to get that going. And so I would say that would be part of the experience. And then someone might come into the group who might have the tendency to talk more than everybody else and then not give the introverts a room.
Jason Pettys  | 00;04;48;09  | And so you see how those dynamics going on. And without really studying them or when I say studying, that sounds a little bit more to get the collegiate right. I mean, it's more just giving some attention to those. And that's I mean, I'm dumping into some of the things that when the Farrell program takes you into those things like Here's what's going on, here's how this can go here.
Jason Pettys  | 00;05;10;26  | The dangers here are really good ways to work around these things and to deal with them.
Laurie Lind  | 00;05;16;02  | I think we've all had experiences. We've been in a Bible study group where it's really awkward and nobody really knows if they're supposed to talk or not or how much are they supposed to talk, or are we all just going to read off what did you all right for? Question one okay. Now what should we all right for?
Laurie Lind  | 00;05;32;27  | Question two if we have like this workbook or or, you know, I mean, just all kinds of different things happening small group to.
Jason Pettys  | 00;05;41;08  | Throw some more examples from the you know, my one of my first church culture was very much more lecture oriented, right? So we get around for a Bible study and then it sounds like it's going to be a discussion and maybe it's a discussion for 5 minutes, but then someone just jumps in and just takes over and does the whole thing.
Jason Pettys  | 00;05;58;26  | And I don't know if they realize they're doing it or if they think that no one else wants to say anything or what. And that can go crazy or or when people are leading studies and they're asking a question and you know that they have a very specific answer in time and it feels more like a a game of Trivial Pursuit than a game of like a discussion of let's study the Bible together.
Jason Pettys  | 00;06;20;18  | And so that's all those little pitfalls of the the dynamics of conversations like that or we were one just recently a bunch of couples at a group and leaders like. Well, anybody have any questions? Nope. Moving on then. And I'm like, whoa. I mean, literally that was there was no pause there, man. Like it. Like no one's going to no one is ever going to feel that group unless like they're super extrovert and have a burning question, you know.
Laurie Lind  | 00;06;50;03  | You don't want to interrupt when they don't particularly seem to want to hear the answer to does anyone have any more questions? So all right. We're already talking quite a bit about issues that can come up in small groups and so on. So in nine, in 2020, the year 2020, right smack in the middle of the peak of the pandemic, you took this interest training course that you referenced a few times by its initials.
Laurie Lind  | 00;07;14;06  | It's called facilitating relational learning. And we shortened that all the time to f, r, l, first of all, it was of course, it was just awful right in the middle of pandemic. We won't get into all of that. But what prompted you to sign up for that training ahead of time?
Jason Pettys  | 00;07;32;04  | You know, I wish I could remember exactly what it was. There was something about the description of it that it seemed to just like be right on the nose with some of the things that we've been talking about, about the common problems that usually come up in a small group dynamic. And then also like at the same time of putting its finger on those problems, it was also putting its finger on it.
Jason Pettys  | 00;07;56;21  | It was very even just in the descriptions of the interim material that I got, it was very descriptive of like, here's how we're going to address those things. And also saying these small group things are super important to spiritual growth and discipleship. And so how do we leverage these emotions? And so when I saw that, I thought, this is one of the main things that I think God personally has called me to do is to to be involved in this kind of small group leading.
Jason Pettys  | 00;08;23;19  | And this seems like the way to learn how to do it better.
Laurie Lind  | 00;08;29;13  | All right. So you saw that, you signed up, you came to this. It was an in-person intensive format, which was like every day, pretty much all day for I don't know, six or six and a half, maybe seven days. I don't recall exactly.
Jason Pettys  | 00;08;44;11  | Did we do it on the weekends? I feel like it was like two weekends in a row. It was like maybe Friday through Sunday, twice in two weeks.
Laurie Lind  | 00;08;50;19  | Oh, maybe that is. We might have done it like that, like a split intensive, we call that. And we had a couple of days off in the middle too.
Jason Pettys  | 00;08;57;13  | And don't forget the pre meeting homework. There's quite a bit of going through that workbook ahead of time and but it was that was so it was it was definitely I mean I didn't take it lightly. So I don't just jump into all these things when I saw the amount of work that would go into it or what did they say it was a 30 or 40 hours of work they recommend before the class starts just on your own.
Jason Pettys  | 00;09;19;17  | Going through the workbook, which sounds like a lot, but it's super valuable stuff. I mean, I found it just really intriguing and and helpful, helpful to go through. So it's it was a big commitment and I didn't I don't just jump into I don't I can't think of anything I've jumped into like that. That was that. But I but it was this one was the one that it was just so appealing and seemed right on point.
Jason Pettys  | 00;09;44;20  | So that's I jumped in and really glad I did.
Laurie Lind  | 00;09;48;12  | So now to those that are listening and we've kind of given little hints and pieces about it, but how would you describe to someone what facilitating relational learning is all about.
Jason Pettys  | 00;10;01;17  | To try to summarize what it's all about, you know, to the part that the parts that really stuck with me, I think, were how to ask open questions. And that sounds really like, you know, you can read a five minute article about how to do that, but it's actually really hard to do to ask truly open questions and not think about in terms like, I mean, you can ask an open question about how you're, you know, a stranger and ask them open questions about their life.
Jason Pettys  | 00;10;26;14  | That's not hard. But like, if you have a text of of scripture that you're studying, you know, you think of a ten verse section and how are you going to go through that? And ask open questions about that? And I think that there's a pattern that comes up in Scripture. All the people who want to teach other people how to study, there's this pattern that always comes up is that is first you want to spend a lot of time observing and then interpret and then apply.
Jason Pettys  | 00;10;54;19  | And the observation is super important upfront because here's because maybe people who have been in small groups will identify with us. If you start with very open questions that are not observational questions, then you'll get such strange answers and people will be flying all over the place just with whatever comes to mind from Oh, I saw the word hope in that passage.
Jason Pettys  | 00;11;18;11  | I'm really hopeful about this or that. And it's like, Well, that's not what the passage is about. And so with the F, r, l plans, this is like, okay, here's how you deal with that and you do it. So this never this doesn't this was very unlikely to happen. If first you ask open questions, that can be answered from the passage itself.
Jason Pettys  | 00;11;36;13  | So when I ask the question, everyone's going to be looking down at the passage to say, okay, where is the answer in the passage? And ask after you ask a few of those. Now they've got that passage in their brain and it's there are a lot less likely to go off track, but you want to make sure they're not trivia questions.
Jason Pettys  | 00;11;51;15  | Like I said earlier, you know, these are not questions where there's one pat answer the thing and that's it's and and f what what what f r allowed you to do it would say, okay, here's how you do it. You're like, Oh, okay, I think I got it. And then it says, okay, now do it. Pick a passage and do it.
Jason Pettys  | 00;12;06;17  | And now you're going to do a small group in this right now with everybody doing it. And then we're going to critique you and say, did that was that an open question or not? You know, and so now and then you do that, I don't know, a half a dozen times what you're doing it. Everybody else is doing it.
Jason Pettys  | 00;12;21;27  | And you finally get it in green because it's so easy when you learn something like it was like, oh, like open questions. But if you've got a go to style that you're going to fall back to that. Unless you have this for me anyway, to have this intensive focus on, do it now. Do it again and do it again and do it again.
Jason Pettys  | 00;12;37;02  | To finally kind of gets ingrained. And that's now my go to way of doing it, you know. So I would say, I mean, there's a whole lot of other things that go with that. And I mean, I'm just kind of tapping, just touching on a few points and there's a few super important points about the whole thing that I'm not even touching on at all about the, you know, the group dynamics about how do you deal with introverts and extroverts and get help people who are to balance out the amount of time participation.
Jason Pettys  | 00;13;05;05  | Because everybody we want everyone to say things. How do you make it so you're not the center of the thing of the attention, like it's not a hub in a spoke, but because you want the people talking to each other, not just answering your questions back to you again and how do you do those kind of things. So it's just and hopefully it was throwing out enough things there that the people who are listening can get a sense in something about all of those things will resonate those with a that help to see the value of of the module.
Laurie Lind  | 00;13;32;03  | Wow you just said a lot of things that are really right on about what the module is all about. And yes, I mean, there is a lot about that inductive Bible study format, observation, interpretation, application and kind of how to put a lesson together. And then it is so interactive each participant actually practices, I believe it's three times during the course of the the days that you're meeting and each time we all evaluate one another and you know, what did you do well and what might you do different?
Laurie Lind  | 00;14;04;03  | And each time, you know, you when you do anything, you sing a solo or write a book or whatever, people can say, Well, you know, your technique, you did this pretty well, but there's a little different way you might try that next time. And sure enough, there's something you're not even aware of. And so I think that's nice to the feedback in the interaction.
Jason Pettys  | 00;14;24;01  | It was really interesting. So I brought this idea of feedback up to someone else the other day about, hey, you know, and we were sharing together about, you know, the Scripture thing and then it'd be nice if we just said, you know, like if someone's going to give a little devotional or something, right, say, and we want to get better at it, then maybe we just say, Hey, do everyone share what it was?
Jason Pettys  | 00;14;42;13  | What's one thing you liked about the devotional? One thing you didn't like? It could have been better about the devotional. I said that in this gentleman is he like froze the idea of criticism coming like he would never voluntarily participate in that. So it can kind of free people out. And so if if you're one who's kind of getting like when Laurie says about about the R that, you know, you're going to get to have this feedback, you got to realize you're dealing with people who are pros at this technique and they are really because we don't like it's not the point is not to make people feel uncomfortable or worthless and they're like super
Jason Pettys  | 00;15;19;16  | good at leading you through that in a way that's helpful, but full of grace at the same full of both grace and truth, just like the Lord. And it's it's challenge and just just being around people who can do that and letting that rub off on you for a little bit. So that's it's not even though it's taking that you're going through a getting critical feedback on a thing can be a little bit intimidating.
Jason Pettys  | 00;15;43;23  | This is going to be the environment where it's got the most powerful combination of truthful feedback in a grace and reaffirming package.
Laurie Lind  | 00;15;58;14  | That's a great way to say that. I love that. Yeah. And so the whole concept is learning how to facilitate a discussion, a Bible study in a relational manner, taking into account the group and and learning, learning that sticks for adults in particular, and always under the guidance of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, of course. So having said all that, I'm just putting thoughts into your head.
Laurie Lind  | 00;16;25;18  | But Jason, how has it impacted you or in what ways have you seen yourself maybe remembering something and applying it in some context?
Jason Pettys  | 00;16;34;08  | Oh yeah. Anytime I'm leading a Bible study now, I try to start by and by actually writing down some observational questions about the passage to go through and making sure that they are open observational questions to start getting us grounded in the passage. I feel like it's heightened my awareness that to learn, I mean, there's there are little tricks that you could pick up on and how to do that and how to get people going and and to just be cognizant of that.
Jason Pettys  | 00;17;07;07  | I think that's one way to put it into practice. The most. Another one that comes into my head a lot is my tendency is like if I'm going through a passage, I just want to I'm seeing really cool things. I just want to tell everybody, here's what it means and here's how it is and it's so cool. But then, I mean, there's a format for that.
Jason Pettys  | 00;17;26;12  | There's a time to do the lecturing thing, but that's usually when not necessarily people are getting wanting to do in a small group, they want to what they want to interact. And so far l taught me how to like lead a Bible study in a way that I can still have the few comments that I really want to say, but it doesn't become a one way street.
Jason Pettys  | 00;17;46;22  | And I still have lots of opportunities for other people to think to just to say their things. And it also taught me how to ask questions that leave the door open for the Holy Spirit to reveal to other people things that I've never seen before. And maybe the it takes the passage in a whole different way, but it's still based on the passage and it's still, you know, it's what the Lord wants to teach out of that passage in that moment.
Jason Pettys  | 00;18;11;12  | And it was a little different than where I wanted to go and before I would have been really uncomfortable with that. Right? I'm just like I have a very specific thought in my head and my question would be very leading in that way. But when your questions are leading in that way, people sense that they know like he wants a specific answer.
Jason Pettys  | 00;18;28;10  | And I don't know if I know what that answer is. And they shut down. And and so to be able to just change the style, to have an open dialog and lead an open day or facilitate an open dialog about the passage, it's when I got done with that that the first thing I thought everybody who leads a Bible study or a small group should do this because it I just I don't know if this is helpful to say, but then when you attend a study afterwards with people who aren't familiar with these principles, it's just so transparent.
Jason Pettys  | 00;19;06;27  | And they'll ask a question and right away you're like, that question is not going anywhere that that is shutting everybody down, you know, and it's not going to work and and, you know, exact because you just get a sense of here are the dynamics at play here and how and once you see them, it's like it's almost like, I don't know, it's one of those things like it seems so obvious.
Jason Pettys  | 00;19;28;23  | But, you know, obviously it wasn't obvious to me either before I took the class and I did the exact same things and got some of the same results but didn't see it. And anyway, it just turns a light on in a, in a great way.
Laurie Lind  | 00;19;39;14  | Well, what would you say to someone, like I had said earlier in our conversation, that you really seem to have a wealth of knowledge about the Bible and your wife does as well. And and now you're talking about leading a Bible study and studying your passage ahead of time and writing questions. What would you say to the person who says, well, okay, I've never led a Bible study in my life and I don't feel like I know the Bible very well.
Laurie Lind  | 00;20;04;26  | So whatever reason could I would there be any reason for me to take facilitating relational learning?
Jason Pettys  | 00;20;13;20  | You know, yeah, I think that's interesting when you say it that way because I feel like you know, the the perspective I'm bringing to it is sort of aligned with my particular gifting. But I don't see anything in the class that is oriented toward a specific type of gifting or personality or characteristic, you know, for anybody to be able to just ask the questions and because we had some very quiet people in our R our group, you know, very introverted, you know, you're going to have us you're not going to be Mr. Charismatic when you're having a conversation.
Jason Pettys  | 00;20;45;07  | Super smooth, but they were there and they were doing it. And you could it doesn't take much. I mean, if you ask just the right questions and then let the group run with it, you were just unlocking the, you know, the the gate and letting it go. And so I say it's it doesn't you don't have to be feel like you're gifted teacher or have a bunch of knowledge in those things.
Jason Pettys  | 00;21;08;29  | And to just if you're assigned a passage and you go through it and you can kind of, okay, where do the sort of the observational questions to get this thing started? I'm going to ask ask them. And a lot of times for me, like the the Bible study prep then is basically I'll come up with six or seven questions to take us through the passage and that's it, that's it.
Jason Pettys  | 00;21;28;17  | That's, that's what we're going to do. And it, it usually takes the whole time and sometimes a lot of things have to pick and choose because when you ask the right questions and start the conversations going and then the group is interacting with one another, hey, you just sit back and enjoy what the Lord is doing.
Laurie Lind  | 00;21;45;21  | Mm hmm. And yet does that. You know, the fear I. I could have when I hear that is what is it? Just like a free for all, then? Like they everyone's just having a great time talking in response to those really good questions you asked. And then look at the time where it's time to go home, where where is the balance with.
Laurie Lind  | 00;22;06;12  | But there is something that the passage is really teaching. You don't want it to just be this great conversation for the sake of a great conversation.
Jason Pettys  | 00;22;16;18  | Yeah, that's a good point. And when I when I think about the six or seven questions now, those aren't just like six or seven. There's, those are six in when I'm doing it, it's usually six or seven questions in a progression. You know, the first one, two, three are going to be observational questions and then we get into more interpretive questions about, okay, what, what does that actually mean?
Jason Pettys  | 00;22;38;20  | Why is that happening like that? And then you can move into how to we apply this or what is kind of the big take home from this whole thing. So, so in the questions, there is a journey that you're taking folks on and you might have to adapt a little bit as a conversation goes. But yeah, that's it's interesting.
Jason Pettys  | 00;22;58;10  | I mean, when you put it that way, it's you're taking the group on a journey through this arc of observation, interpretation, application with, you know, some variations in there. But you can still do that with just a very little passion and leading here and there and end to end transitioning from one topic to the next and one question in the next.
Jason Pettys  | 00;23;19;13  | Answer your question?
Laurie Lind  | 00;23;20;18  | I think so, yeah. I think it's good to remember that it is. There is when you have those questions ready, you have really studied the passage, prayed over it, and you do have a thought of the direction. It seems the Lord would have you go with that passage. That is true to what the passage is about.
Jason Pettys  | 00;23;40;18  | Right? Yeah. I mean, there's a whole I think it's toward the end, you know, you kind of have all of these pieces of the that the Farrell teaching put takes you through. And then one of the last ones is, okay, how do you put this all together into this? I don't know if they use can't use the word on lesson plan, but it's basically like, hey, here's how we're going to start.
Jason Pettys  | 00;23;58;16  | We're going to start with a what do you call it, an introductory question, sort of an icebreaker question that but that relates to the passage and the teacher do that and then take it to the next section in the next section. And then, okay, what's the main point that you're wanting to get? And basically just give you a nice little package so that you can take a group through the passage in a meaningful way.
Jason Pettys  | 00;24;21;16  | That stays true to the text of the passage.
Laurie Lind  | 00;24;24;08  | So in and that's really important. We really want to know that we're remember, we're honoring scripture and the it is God inspired and we don't want to be making anything just what we want it. To me also this course is called facilitating relational learning. And that word relational can sound pretty touchy feely. And it's true that a lot of women have taken this actually all around the world, not as many men, but it's gaining some traction with men.
Laurie Lind  | 00;24;54;02  | So what was the experience like for you, Jason, taking this module.
Jason Pettys  | 00;24;58;26  | I'm yeah, that's interesting. I, I never looked at that way, I guess. I mean, there were, I was, there were guys and gals or gals and guys I thought it was in our, in our room. I thought it was fairly even. But I don't.
Laurie Lind  | 00;25;15;00  | I think I think our group had a pretty good mix of men and women. But by far overall around the globe, thousands more women than men have taken this this course thus far. And time.
Jason Pettys  | 00;25;30;15  | Interesting. I can't help but think that's too bad because I guess guys do this and I mean, probably I mean, there's a part of me that wants to say, you guys need it more than than than gals. But maybe that was probably not true because we just get different things out of it or men tend to have, you know, take things in different ways than women.
Jason Pettys  | 00;25;51;27  | And we both need to sort of fine tune in on those things. I don't I didn't find anything about this that felt like it. I think I've told every guy that I've talked to, like, who does this thing, I was like, You should do this. I mean, you know, you're kind of I mean, to put it I don't know.
Jason Pettys  | 00;26;12;02  | I don't want to discourage people. But it's like you don't say you're doing a bad job. You're doing what you can. Before, though, I didn't do a bad job of things before I did f rl but it it brings your game up in this to such a high level that like if you're if you're going to do some small groups or if you're doing small groups, this is going to be a super effective asset to making you more effective.
Jason Pettys  | 00;26;37;05  | And yeah.
Laurie Lind  | 00;26;39;03  | Well, Jason, it's really good to hear your perspective on all of this as a as a guy and having taken this in just the last couple of years and then put some of it into practice. So thanks for talking about facilitating relational learning with me. And is there anything else you would want any more questions? Oh, no. It was, you know.
Jason Pettys  | 00;26;59;21  | Nice. Yes. You need a refresher, Laurie? That's what's going on. No, I really it was I think I, I hope that if, if this could encourage anyone to sign up for the class, I, that would be great. I hope that that is the result of this because I think it's it's a powerful tool put together by a very wise people trying to follow the Lord and and help people lead other people more effectively.
Jason Pettys  | 00;27;24;20  | And it's a powerful tool and toolbox for that.
Todd (intro/outro)  | 00;27;29;03  | You've been listening to Entrust Equipping Leaders, the podcast for Christian leaders, people who equip Christian leaders, and people who desire to grow in their Christian leadership skills. Jason Pettys and Laurie Lind discussed Entrust‘s flagship training module facilitating relational learning a.k.a FRL. Find out about FRL in today's show notes and join us next time when Jason turns the tables on Laurie and asks her some questions.
Todd (intro/outro)  | 00;28;00;22  | See you then.